Training camp begins in two days at Dove Valley and the Broncos begin a new season with a new quarterback.
Peyton Manning—arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time—takes center stage as the Broncos' franchise quarterback and the near future. Who would have imagined back on that dark, cold January night in Foxboro when the Broncos lost 45-10 to the Patriots with Tim Tebow under center, that the Broncos would sign the biggest free-agent name in history?
Quickly after signing Manning to a five year, $98 million contract, the Broncos made their intentions clear of getting rid of Tebow. After flirting with the Jaguars a little bit, the Broncos ended up jettisoning Tebow to the Jets for a few draft picks.
Tebow led the Broncos to their most success in six years last season when Denver won their first divisional title and playoff game since 2005.
Having said that, the Broncos will have a whole different look with Manning under center, compared to when Tebow took center stage while leading the Broncos to comeback victory week after week.
Here are four things that Tim Tebow brought to the table that Peyton Manning does not.
I think this is the most obvious trait that just about anybody with an ounce of football knowledge can point out.
Tebow was fourth in the NFL last season in yards per carry with a 5.4 rushing average. He ran for over 800 yards on the season, and was arguably the most dangerous rushing threat at quarterback in the NFL.
The most rushing yards that Manning has run for in a single season is 157, back in 2001. The most rushing yards that Peyton has run for in a single season since 2003 is 45 yards. You give Tebow about nine carries and he'll gain about that much yardage.
It's safe not to expect any game-winning rushing touchdowns with Manning, the likes of which we saw when Tim Tebow ran for a 20-yard touchdown against the Jets in Denver last November.
The Broncos took the NFL by storm in 2011 when the read-option offense was installed to maximize Tebow's strengths as a runner, while limiting his shortcomings as a passer.
What this resulted in was the Broncos leading the league in rushing with 2,632 yards, while ranking second-to-last in passing. In fact, the Broncos had more rushing yards than they did passing in 2011. The Broncos as a team passed for 2,434 yards, with Kyle Orton contributing 979 of those yards during his five starts.
In Manning's 13 years in the NFL, he has ranked in the top three in passing yardage 10 times.
It's safe to say that although Manning won't be running the read-option offense that Tebow and Willis McGahee had so much success with, he'll more than compensate for it with his passing prowess.
You know how I said that Tebow was possibly the best mobile threat at the quarterback position in 2011?
Well, having said that, despite Tebow's great athletic ability, he was often indecisive and consistently misread defenses. In spite of his ability to run around and over defenders, he was sacked 33 times for a sack rate of 10.9 percent.
That would mean that Tebow's sack rate led the NFL. The next closest was Kevin Kolb with a sack rate of 10.6 percent.
Since the merger, there has been 32 times a quarterback has started 15 (or more) games and been sacked less than 16 times. Peyton has six of those seasons.
Manning has always made his offensive lineman look better than they really are. With possibly the quickest release of any quarterback in the game today, Manning is able to compensate for his lack of mobility by sidestepping would-be tacklers, and utilizing his ability to read defenses to minimize his sack totals.
In other words, the exact opposite of Tim Tebow.
Yes, Manning is a household name. Yes, Tebow is a household name also.
Whether it's Tebow's fault or not for all of the media attention he gets is up for debate. Some people believe the media flocks towards him because of his collegiate career and his unwavering Christian faith. Some people believe he brings it upon himself by writing his own book, constantly making public appearances, and by consistently making his belief in the Bible a public display.
The Broncos will receive a lot of attention from the media in 2012. The reasons this season are a little bit different, though.
Manning is returning after a near-two year hiatus from football. He has undergone four neck surgeries over the past two years, and no one knows if he will be the Peyton that we saw dominate opposing NFL defenses for 13 years, or if he will be a shell of his former self.
Having said that, the media circus that engulfed the Broncos in 2011 largely due to Tim Tebow's success leading the Broncos to the playoffs, will be a lot different than the "media circus" that we'll see if Peyton has similar success in leading the Broncos to the postseason in 2012.